The Golden Principle
Almost everyone knows The Golden Rule Jesus taught us. "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you". Of course Jesus didn't give this teaching that name. It's unfortunate that we call it a rule. A rule is an arbitrary regulation imposed on us by a legislation or the common agreement of a group of people. Driving on the right hand side of the road is an example. Rules allow us to live an ordered life together. They can be changed. We could agree to start driving on the left. Jesus' teaching is rather a principle, something built into the very fabric of what it means to be human. It defines how God created us to be. It's not decided by popular vote and it's not changeable. And because it's built into us by God, it works when it's put into practice. Even though sin can prevent it, love is usually returned by love, mercy by mercy, generosity by generosity, at least in most cases. But notice that what Jesus teaches is not simply that we shouldn't hurt each other. He requires us to bring good into other people's lives because that is the way God treats us. We should do this even if we don't get a like response. But chances are we will. So if not many people are good to us, maybe we should ask how good we have been to them.